Richard Branson

Tells SBS media are fair

2 Apr, 2008

Negus interviews Branson for SBS Dateline during a visit to announce Virgin’s Sydney-LA route. He says media have usually been balanced:

I think journalists have been pretty fair with me over the years and I can’t complain. I think we’ve built, hopefully, one of the most respected brands in the world and I think I’ve been treated fairly. Obviously, there are occasions when people write things I don’t like and I normally shoot off a letter and get it off my chest and then move on … I’ve never sued anybody yet, though there have been one or two occasions I’ve wanted to strangle one or two people.

His dyslexia and lack of formal education shape his business skills:

Yes, I mean, I – being dyslexic, you just have to do things perhaps differently than a normal businessperson, and I rely much more on gut feeling than I suspect most businesspeople. I mean, for instance, if I’m starting a new business I don’t bring in the accountants. I just decide, you know, that this particular business has been run dreadfully by other people and I feel I can do it better. And if I can do it better and create something very special hopefully we can pay the bills at the end of it.

He spends 60%-70% of his time on philanthropy:

I think the thing about capitalism is it’s an evil necessity, capitalism. Communism has been tried and failed, and socialism, that doesn’t work very well. Capitalism works, but the problem about capitalism is it does mean that a few individuals become very wealthy. Therefore, I think those individuals have enormous responsibility to redistribute that wealth either by creating new businesses or creating new jobs and making sure that money just doesn’t lie in a bank account for future generations.

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